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The best smartwatches in 2020

best smartwatches
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The best smartwatches can do more than show notifications on your wrist. They're everything in one: a fitness tracker, a wallet and in some cases, even a phone. 

A smartwatch can even save your life with elevated heart rate alerts and automatically connect you to emergency services if you fall. And, in this time when we're trying not to touch things, you can use the contactless payment systems on your wrist to pay for items at grocery stores and other retailers.

But the best smartwatches do all these things better than others. Some have huge numbers of apps you can download, while others, packed with GPS, heart rate monitors and more, are health-oriented. That's why some of the devices on this list are also among the best fitness trackers.

Many smartwatches have batteries that will barely last a day, while others can go nearly a week on a charge. And of course there's style: The best smartwatches can be customized, from their straps to their faces, to best fit with your personality.

See all of the best smartwatches below.

What is the best smartwatch?

After testing dozens of the best smartwatches, our top pick is the Apple Watch Series 5, which has a huge, always-on display, built-in compass, and all of the advanced health features we loved about the Series 4. This includes fall detection and a built-in electrical heart rate sensor for taking on-the-go electrocardiograms. And, you can get the Apple Watch 5 with LTE, so you can leave your phone at home.

The Apple Watch 3 remains a very good value, especially with recent discounts, which has brought its price below $200. While it doesn't have such things as ECG detection, it's still a capable device, and is also on our list of the best fitness trackers.

The best smartwatch for Android users is Samsung's $279 Galaxy Watch Active 2. It offers built-in GPS, heart rate sensor, water-resistance and Samsung Pay support, plus advanced heart health features. Samsung's smartwatches also have excellent battery life, lasting at least four days (or twice as long as the Apple Watch.)

Though you might be weighing the Apple Watch 6 vs Apple Watch 5 now, we don't expect to see the Apple Watch 6 until this fall. That said, many of the Watch 6 upgrades will come over-the-air via watchOS 7.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 might arrive even sooner and include up to 8GB of onboard storage and rotating bezel, as well as a blood pressure monitor. 

Qualcomm also announced its new Snapdragon Wear 4100 processor, which will power the next generation of WearOS smartwatches and provide up to 85 percent more power, and a 25 percent increase in battery life. 

The best smartwatches you can buy today

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Apple Watch series 5 hands On review

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1. Apple Watch Series 5

The best smartwatch overall

Sizes: 40mm, 44mm | Battery Life (Rated): 18 hours | GPS: Yes | Swim-Proof: Yes | Heart Rate Monitor: Yes | LTE: Optional | Mobile Payments: Apple Pay | Compatibility: iOS

Always-on display
Useful compass
WatchOS 6 brings Cycle Tracking and App Store
Still just 18-hour battery life

The Apple Watch Series 5's always-on display makes a meaningful difference in user experience, especially when working out. Now when you glance at your wrist, you'll always be able to tell the time, with the Apple Watch automatically adjusting to the conditions around you with the help of an ambient light sensor. That always-on display doesn't drain the watch's battery, either, though you'll still want to charge your Apple Watch nightly, as it lacks the multiday battery life that other smartwatches offer.

Apple's latest watch also includes a built-in compass, which comes in handy while hiking or star-gazing, and also makes Maps more useful by showing you which direction you're facing at all times. Series 5 looks identical to Series 4, but the newer model comes in fresh finishes — titanium and ceramic — and offers the same advanced health features we loved in the Series 4. This is the best smartwatch you can buy. 

Read our full Apple Watch Series 5 review.    

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Galaxy Watch Active 2

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2. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

The best smartwatch for Android users

Sizes: 40mm, 44mm | Battery Life (Rated): 24-60 hours | GPS: Yes | Swim-Proof: Yes | Heart Rate Monitor: Yes | LTE: Yes | Mobile Payments: Samsung Pay | Compatibility: Android, iOS (works best with Galaxy phones)

Offline Spotify storage
Gorgeous design
Works with iOS and Android
ECG feature not available at launch
Sleep-tracking needs some work

As good as the Apple Watch is, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 can give Apple's smartwatch a run for its money. Samsung's watch works with both Android (and to a lesser extent) iOS smartphones, and features GPS, a heart rate monitor and LTE (for a premium). It also can automatically track your activity and sleep. (It's much better at the former task than the latter.)

The Galaxy Watch Active 2's circular design is visually appealing, whether you get the 40mm or 44mm model. Based on Samsung's Tizen operating system, this Galaxy Watch boasts other useful features as Samsung Pay, onboard music via Spotify and heart health features. That includes a forthcoming ECG feature similar to the one Apple offers in the Apple Watch Series 4 and 5, though Samsung is still awaiting FDA approval before issuing a software update that enables heart rate monitoring. But the biggest reason why the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is the best smartwatch for Android users is its excellent battery life.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 review.

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Apple Watch Series 3 Activity

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3. Apple Watch Series 3

The best affordable smartwatch for iPhone users

Sizes: 38mm, 42mm | Battery Life (Rated): 18-24 hours | GPS: Yes | Swim-Proof: Yes | Heart Rate Monitor: Yes | LTE: Optional | Mobile Payments: Apple Pay | Compatibility: iOS

Improved fitness-tracking
Faster Siri
Apple Music streaming (with LTE model)
Still just 18-hour battery
Shorter battery life when connected to cellular

Starting at $199, the Apple Watch Series 3 is a more affordable smartwatch option than the Series 5 for iPhone users. The size options are smaller. bezels are thicker on the older model, and you won't get the newer watch's ability to detect atrial fibrillation with an ECG app.

However, when you compare the Apple Watch Series 5 vs Apple Watch Series 3, you'll find you don't sacrifice too much for the older version's lower price. You still get a heart rate monitor, GPS, 8GB of storage with offline support for Apple Music playlists. This watch is also water-proof if you like to track your swims, and many of the best software features found in the Apple Watch Series 5 are also found in the Series 3, thanks to the watchOS 6 Apple released last year. Check out our Apple Watch Series 3 vs. Fitbit Charge 4 face-off to see the benefits you'll get with Apple's smartwatch over a traditional fitness tracker, too. 

Read our full Apple Watch Series 3 review.    

best smartwatch: Samsung Galaxy Watch

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4. Samsung Galaxy Watch

Get this smartwatch for the battery life

Sizes: 30mm, 42mm, 46mm | Battery Life (Rated): Up to 5 days | GPS: Yes | Swim-Proof: Yes | Heart Rate Monitor: Yes | LTE: Optional | Mobile Payments: Samsung Pay | Compatibility: iOS, Android

Stylish design
Long battery life
Good fitness features
Built-in music storage
Few apps for Tizen

Samsung's Galaxy Watch is one of the most stylish smartwatches around, and one of the most functional, too. It's available in three sizes — 30, 42, and 46 mm — as well as in rose gold, silver, and black, so there's a version for everyone. The Galaxy Watch's signature features is a rotating bezel, which not only feels great but makes it easy to navigate the watch's interface.

Another great feature of the Galaxy Watch is its excellent battery life, up to 4-5 days, which is double that most other smartwatches. The Galaxy Watch also has storage for music, Samsung Pay for contactless payments, and some good fitness features too. The biggest issues are that Samsung's app store is pretty limited, and you can't use all of the Galaxy Watch's features when it's paired with an iPhone.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch review.

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Fitbit Versa 2

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Fitbit Versa 2

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Fitbit Versa 2

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Fitbit Versa 2

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5. Fitbit Versa 2

The best smartwatch for sleep-tracking

Sizes: 39mm | Battery Life (Rated): 4 days | GPS: Only when connected to smartphone | Swim-Proof: Yes | Heart Rate Monitor: Yes | LTE: No | Mobile Payments: Optional, Fitbit Pay | Compatibility: iOS, Android

Solid battery life
Customized training programs (with subscription)
Insightful sleep analysis
Alexa works inconsistently
No on-board GPS

Fitbit's Versa 2 is a refined upgrade from the original Versa that adds built-in Alexa and more advanced sleep-tracking features, especially now that Fitbit has rolled out a software update that enables a feature to monitor blood oxygen saturation levels. (That data's helpful for identifying conditions like sleep apnea.) Throw in multi-day battery life, and we think the Versa 2 is the best smartwatch if you're looking for a way to monitor your sleeping habits. 

As one of the best Fitbits, the Versa 2 works with both iOS and Android and costs less than $200, which makes it a great value. Fitbit added a Spotify app to the Versa 2, so you can control music playback from your wrist. However, you can't download Spotify playlists to the watch for offline listening. The Versa 2 also lacks on-board GPS. But overall, it's a solid smartwatch for people who don't want to spend more than $200.

Read our full Fitbit Versa 2 review.    

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Garmin Vivoactive 4

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Garmin Vivoactive 4

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Garmin Vivoactive 4

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Garmin Vivoactive 4

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6. Garmin Vivoactive 4

The best smartwatch for fitness

Sizes: 40mm, 45mm | Battery Life (Rated): Up to 7 days for Vivoactive 4S, 8 days for Vivoactive 4 | GPS: Yes | Swim-Proof: Yes | Heart Rate Monitor: Yes | LTE: Nol | Mobile Payments: Garmin Pay | Compatibility: iOS, Android

Comes in two sizes
Built-in music storage with Spotify support
Two-button navigation
Occasional syncing issues
Convoluted app installation process

Garmin took the best features of its Vivoactive 3, the best smartwatch for fitness, and made them even better with the $349 Vivoactive 4 and 4S. The watch now comes in two sizes, 40mm and 45mm, to offer a better fit for most people, and includes both Garmin Pay and music storage out of the box (instead of having to pay more for premium features like with the Vivoactive 3). 

The Vivoactive 4 also offers animated on-screen yoga and Pilates workouts to help you improve your poses. A new pulse ox sensor measures your blood oxygen level and gives you more detailed sleep insights. All of that plus 7-day battery life makes the Vivoactive 4 our favorite smartwatch for fitness buffs.

Read our full Garmin Vivoactive 4 review.    

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Amazfit Bip

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7. Amazfit Bip

The best cheap smartwatch

Sizes: One size, with 1.28-inch display | Battery Life (Rated): Up to 45 days | GPS: Yes | Swim-Proof: No | Heart Rate Monitor: Yes | LTE: No | Mobile Payments: No | Compatibility: iOS, Android

Apple Watch-like design
Built-in GPS
Affordable 
Heat rate and steps not always accurate
Low-resolution graphics
Can’t respond to notifications

You don't necessarily have to pay big bucks to get a capable smartwatch with fitness-tracking feature. The ultra-affordable Amazfit Bip costs less than $80, yet works with iOS and Android and comes with GPS and a heart rate monitor. 

Fitness-tracking features are pretty solid, and the Bip's transflective color display is easy on the eyes and doesn't drain the battery. Speaking of battery life, you can expect around 45 days of normal usage — we used the Amazfit Bip for two weeks before the battery dipped below 50%.

Other functionality is limited: You can select only from five different watch faces, and can only view, and not respond to notifications from the watch itself. But if you're in the market for a smartwatch that costs less than $100, this is the model to get.

Read our full Amazfit Bip review.    

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Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch

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Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch

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Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch

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Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch

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8. Fossil Gen 5

The best Wear OS watch

Sizes: 44mm | Battery Life (Rated): 18 hours, but longer with extended battery mode | GPS: Yes | Swim-Proof: Yes | Heart Rate Monitor: Yes | LTE: No | Mobile Payments: Google Pay | Compatibility: Android, iOS

Stylish, premium stainless-steel frame
More RAM makes a difference
Customizable battery modes
Feels limited compared to Samsung's and Apple's smartwatches
No offline Spotify playback
Wear OS stutters sometimes

Wear OS simply isn't polished enough to measure up against the best smartwatches from Apple and Samsung. But if you insist upon a Wear OS device, Fossil's Gen 5 smartwatch is the one to get, thanks to a stylish, sophisticated look. The Gen 5 also eliminates the most glaring performance lag we saw in past Wear OS watches, thanks to 1GB of RAM, and customizable battery modes also make this smartwatch worth a look. 

You're not going to get the fitness and heart health features you'll find on the Apple Watch and the Galaxy Watch Active. And the Gen 5's Spotify app can't store music offline — also a disadvantage. But this smartwatch remains the best that Wear OS has to offer.

Read our full Fossil Gen 5 review.  

How to pick the best smartwatch for you

When looking at the best smartwatches for you, you're somewhat limited by the smartphone you own. If you want an Apple Watch, for instance, you'll need to have an iPhone. And while Wear OS watches work with both Android and iPhones, you get far less functionality when not connected to an Android device. 

Samsung's smartwatches offer the greatest in terms of cross-functionality, but even here, Android phone owners will get more in terms of replies to notifications and the ability to make and receive phone calls. 

After that, when picking a smartwatch, you also want to get one that fits your wrist comfortably. Those with smaller wrists may find larger smartwatches — ones with case sizes larger than 44mm — to be too bulky and cumbersome to wear. 

After that, you want to find a smartwatch that fits your style. Although the Apple Watch is limited to one shape, you can purchase it in different finishes. Samsung's smartwatches offer a little more choice, while Wear OS watches, which are made by a number of companies including Fossil, Skagen, Kate Spade, Moto, Tag Heuer, Diesel, and others, give you many more options when it comes to their design. 

How we test the best smartwatches

We test every new smartwatch to gauge its design and comfort. If it’s not stylish and comfortable enough to get you from an early morning workout to the office to a night out, you probably won’t wear it every day. Most smartwatches are also fitness trackers, so we put all of its sensors to the test, from step counts to heart rate to GPS (when applicable).

We install apps and use them to see if the device’s app store is robust enough to elevate it to smartwatch status. If the watch has built-in LTE, we test cellular connectivity and call quality to make sure the device can actually stand on its own without a smartphone nearby.

And we measure battery life using everyday scenarios — including workouts, using apps, and getting notifications — to make sure you can get through an entire day without needing to charge up.

  • mprospero
    Archived comments are found here: http://www.tomsguide.com/forum/id-2918665/smartwatches-2015.html
    Reply
  • cdbc100
    Hmm...no speaker on the gear sport, and definitely more than 1 day battery life. Unfortunately, the calories burned per day is pretty inaccurate through s health.
    Reply
  • wrappers
    Than they are good?
    Reply
  • ripped_off_buyer
    Beware of buying a watch on Authenticwatches . com. They sell grey goods, the watchmakers warranty is void and the watchmaker can not assure you when buying from them that the watch is new or genuine. The website Authenticwatches . com while pretending to be owbn by Authenticwatches . com, Inc is actually owned by Tranik Enterprises, Inc. In 2005 They specifically filed to change their legal name from Authenticwatches . com, Inc to Tranik Enterprises, Inc.

    Here is a question you need to ask yourself: What valid reason could a business have for changing their legal name to something entirely different and then continue to use their old business name, and not list their legal name anywhere on the website, documents, or anywhere, anyone can find it.

    Before buying checkout and read the complaints on the better business bureau:

    https://www.bbb.org/us/ca/moorpark/profile/jewelry-stores/authenticwatchescom-1236-92003976/complaints

    Read about the guy who thought he was buying a new Rolex watch but it came missing all stickers and AW refused to take it back.

    Here is AW’s response “Client claims to have received timepiece in a condition other than what was advertised. At no point in time was the timepiece advertised as "new" nor "brand new". At no point in time was the timepiece advertised to come with factory stickers.”

    There are many more horror stories on the BBB and other site. Just spend a few minutes searching before you buy. Buyer beware!
    Reply
  • dagsy73
    The Ticwatch Pro is a very good Android OS Wear Smartwatch. Just be careful on getting the speaker wet as I think mine is blown, from washing my hands. ( I never showered with it on) Also, do not download to many apps as it will lock up and freeze. I am corresponding with Mobvoi to hopefully get a replacement or refund since I only had it for 30 days. Other than that, it was totally Awesome!!!
    Reply
  • dagsy73
    21712114 said:
    The Ticwatch Pro is a very good Android OS Wear Smartwatch. Just be careful on getting the speaker wet as I think mine is blown, from washing my hands. ( I never showered with it on) Also, do not download to many apps as it will lock up and freeze. I am corresponding with Mobvoi to hopefully get a replacement or refund since I only had it for 30 days. Other than that, it was totally Awesome!!!

    ***Update January 31st, 2019 MOBVOI, A DISHONEST COMPANY!!!
    After many emails and several phone calls of me basically repeating myself about the Ticwatch Pro, Mobvoi became rude and dishonest. In a email on January 23rd, the Movoi Represenative stated that he was going to mail me out a replacement watch that day and for me to return the non working watch with a prepaid post label. The next day I get the watch mailed out. I am permanently disabled and had my neighbor drive me to the Post office to expedite the process. I email Mobvoi and let them know that it was sent and provided tracking information to confirm. They do not respond until I call them on January 25th. Sean, a Mobvoi rep, tells me that the person I emailed has not shipped out the watch and that he was going to take care of it. I ask him to please email me the tracking information when He gets it. Weekend goes by and no email from Sean or Mobvoi. I call Monday morning and this Mobvoi rep would not release his name and told me that they are working on it. I just want everyone to know how this company treats its customers. Remind you that I just purchased the watch at the end of December 2019 and I contacted Mobvoi about a week and a half after it came in the mail...
    Reply
  • watchki.dean
    The calories burned per day is pretty inaccurate through s health.
    Reply